12 Reasons to Let Your Kids Make a Mess Outside

12 Reasons to Let Your Littles Make A Mess Outside | Baby Chick

12 Reasons to Let Your Kids Make a Mess Outside

Two weeks ago my husband and I hosted a cocktail party. While sipping wine and taking bites from the charcuterie boards, I was talking to a fellow mama about life with toddlers. The sweetness, the snuggles, and the cyclone style destruction they seem to cause on the daily.

We swapped war stories of our “not-so-shining parenting moments.” After laughing hysterically and commiserating, she remarked how impressed she was that with two toddler boys that I manage to keep such a tidy house.

First, I was utterly flattered by her compliment, but I was quick to come forward with the fact that it’s something I work on with my toddlers all day long. When we’re done playing with one thing, the boys know that we simply put it away before moving on to the next activity. We make our fair share of messes along the way, and we are incredibly grateful for our housekeeper’s help!

But that being said, my best tip for letting them be little, living in the moment, making memories and messes while keeping my home clean is this: GO OUTSIDE! Get outdoors. Every day if you can! Climb hills, take a hike, splash in a puddle, build a sandcastle, get down and dirty. Just do it away from your living room, ha!

Yes, despite my “type A” certifiable clean freak-ness, my notable girlie-ness, and need to always be in control, I am totally cool with my little dudes getting dirty! And I encourage it! There are so many benefits beyond keeping your house clean (although that’s a huge bonus). Today, I’m sharing 12 additional reasons why I let my littles make messes outside!

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1. It teaches them independence.

When we’re on a hiking trail, my husband walks several paces ahead with our Labrador so he can alert us to any precautions we may need to take; “Watch your step here” or “Be careful over there.” This allows our toddlers to navigate the path safely but independently with mommy following behind in case they genuinely need a helping hand. Doing this has given our children a sense of confidence and self-reliance while they get to explore, touch, and feel nature for themselves. If they stumble and get a little dirty, they brush themselves off and keep going. It makes my heart smile so big to see them learning completely hands-on, on their own.

Read More: 10 Best Toys for Outdoor Play

2. They develop their senses and fine motor skills.

As a parent, it’s thrilling to watch your child’s eyes light up digging their toes in the sand at the playground, running their fingers over fresh moss growing on a tree at the park, picking through pebbles to find the perfect round one to put in their pocket, or splashing in a puddle at the end of the driveway after a big rain. It’s with these little discoveries that they are training their senses. They are using fine motor skills to learn about different textures in nature, they are using their senses to decide how they feel about them, and they are making countless memories. It doesn’t get better than that!

3. They are using their imagination in BIG ways.

Have you ever noticed how quickly a jungle gym can become a princess castle or pirate ship in the eyes of a toddler? Or how a walk through the park can become an African Safari in an instant? These moments of imagination are signs of substantial intellectual development. Sure, you could easily engage your toddler in imaginative play indoors (and you should), but taking it outside simply adds a new layer of complexity to the storyline. It can spark new ideas and scenarios to learn from.

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4. It helps their coordination and balance.

Attempting a bike ride, walking across a fallen log, and climbing up a rocky trail requires coordination and balance that you simply can’t acquire without taking a tumble or two and learning cause and effect. It’s a messy process that can result in scuffed knees and muddy shoes, but the pay off is allowing your child to master these skills at their own pace.

5. They learn to self-direct, and their attention spans increase.

When my littles are making mud pies, a part of me cringes thinking about the laundry I’m bound to face that evening… But then I watch as the seconds turn into minutes, and soon an hour passes that they have been completely engaged in play. Without fighting, without my intervention, without me having to tell them what to do. When we’re playing inside, they pull out a different toy every 5 minutes. Nothing seemingly holds their attention for long before they’ve destroyed their room and quickly proclaim they are bored, looking to me to advise them on what activity they can engage in next. And let’s be honest, sometimes we all run out of educational/productive things for our tots to do indoors. Getting messy outside engages kids in a way that no toy can. As a result, they can focus their attention on their current activity and play independently and confidently.

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6. It increases vitamin D!

Sunscreen is essential, of course, but playing outside exposes your kiddo to a healthy dose of vitamin D (so long as your not overexposing them, no sunburns, please!). Vitamin D helps increase their bone strength, improves their immune system, and did you know that it can aid in more restorative sleep? Which brings me to my next reason for outdoor play…

7. Playing hard outside wears them out!

Whenever we have resistance at nap time, my go-to solution is sunshine. We get outside and take a long walk. We explore, we talk, we share ideas, we laugh, and we work our way back towards the house much more ready to wind down for an afternoon nap. This past Sunday, we did a big hike at the nature preserve just outside of town, and our boys haven’t slept that hard in a VERY long time. Our two-year-old, who still wakes at 3 am nightly requesting a drink, didn’t make a peep all night. It was totally worth the 4.5 miles we hiked that day.

8. Exploring green space can reduce your child’s stress.

According to a Cornell study, views of nature and outdoor play in green space helps aid in stress reduction for kids. You might be thinking, what does a three-year-old have to be “stressed” about? But have you ever seen your little one flip their lid when trying to get them to share a toy? Toddlers are high strung, it’s a part of development, but taking a roll in the green grass can help reduce their stress and increase positive social interactions. According to the study, “Green spaces foster social interaction and thereby promote social support.” It sounds like a good enough reason to “go green” for playtime to me!

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9. It can improve and strengthen their vision for life.

Your toddler has years ahead of using his or her vision for closeup work like reading, taking tests, and working on computers in school, which we now know can be damaging to our sight. Now is the time to strengthen their sight by spending time outside where it’s light! They then are using their eyes to focus on far away subjects in the distance, birds in the sky, and finding figures in the clouds, according to the Optometry And Vision Science Journal.

10. Dirt can improve immunity!

Expanding on the last two health benefits, playing in dirt and soil, being exposed to different microbes and bacteria, can build up your child’s immunity. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend eating those mud pies your toddler is making in the backyard, but according to our research and quoting our pediatrician, “A little dirt won’t hurt!”

11. Making a mess = Making memories!

I read a sign once that said, “Excuse our mess, we’re making memories,” and my initial reaction was this: your home doesn’t need to be a mess for your children to make memories if that’s not “your thing.” Frankly, the idea of a consistently messy house personally makes me completely stressed out, and for me, that’s not conducive to making happy memories at all! But I get it, making a mess is fun! And I do enjoy the time spent outside getting dirty with my children. There will be plenty of time for me to fix my manicure, but right now, we’ll make muddy memories outside (and we’ll leave the mess there, too)!

12. It’s good for YOU, mama!

I never knew until I had two boys and an Eagle Scout for a husband just how much I, myself, enjoyed getting outside. I can’t stand the gym, but I love a good long hike. I am not great at sports, but I can dribble a soccer ball with my four year old. Getting sweaty, burning calories, having fun, and playing with my littles releases all of those positive endorphins you get from a good workout, but you don’t even notice you’re doing it. That’s a pretty great healthy bonus to family-friendly fun!

Do you let your littles make a mess? Play in the dirt and make muddy memories? I want to hear about it!

About the Author /

Sarah Ring is a small business owner living in Dallas with her husband of ten years. She is a mother to two elementary aged sons and one toddler daughter. She is passionate about travel, date nights, Southern manners & traditional children’s clothing but above anything else, finding grace in motherhood is her greatest accomplishment!

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Even though things may be more difficult now to offer help, still try to be the friend you wished you had when your babies were newborns to your friends and loved ones. ❤️ Things you can do:⁠
- Drop off a meal at their door⁠
- Drop off some of your favorite postpartum recovery items or breastfeeding products you loved⁠
- Go grocery shopping for them and leave it at the door⁠
- Send them a meal delivery service gift card⁠
- Bake her some lactation cookies (if she is breastfeeding)⁠
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- Drop off diapers and wipes⁠
- Self-quarantine for 2 weeks and come over to help with the house and baby so she can take a nap or a shower⁠
- Pay for a few hours for a postpartum doula or a night nanny to help her out⁠
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If you are there now or about to enter this stage, it’s a yummy, delicious, snuggly stage. But for me, it has always been one of the harder ones, every time I go through it. So I see and feel you, mama! It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Hold tight, though, because it doesn’t last forever.⁠
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I've been asked so many questions by men about fatherhood. So I figured I'd drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon-to-be-Dads. Here's what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup. If mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you'll wonder "what is there for me to do?" Here are my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.⁠
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1️⃣ For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.⁠
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2️⃣ Ask mom if she can pump and then pick 1 feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.⁠
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3️⃣ Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeeds the baby. It's not just about feeding your child it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad, it's hard to fully understand. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try and rush this process. It's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win.⁠
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4️⃣ Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.⁠
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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Absolutely love these tips from @chroniclesofdaddy. 🙌
7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body 7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body After Baby 🧘‍♀️⁠
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The postpartum period, or period of recovery that takes place after a mother gives birth, is an important time for mothers to take care of themselves. 🥰 Typically, if you’re less than 6 weeks postpartum you don’t want to put any pressure on your core muscles. Also, your body’s levels of relaxin, the hormone that loosens joints to prepare for childbirth, is elevated for 3-6 months after childbirth, and longer if you are breastfeeding. All this means is: take these postpartum yoga poses slowly and stretch yourself gently. No gymnastics here or pushing beyond what is comfortable.⁠
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Remember, every mama’s body is different, so listen to how you feel and seek advice from a medical professional if you have questions about how and when to begin your personal exercise plan. Note: Try to do the following yoga poses in the order they are listed. {Click 🔗 in bio to see the 7 yoga poses to strengthen your body after baby!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷 taken by: @allisonermon_photography
It's been one of those days. 😑⁠ 📷: @kristy It's been one of those days. 😑⁠
📷: @kristyndingman
🙋‍♀️😂😂😂⁠ 🚜 What are some st 🙋‍♀️😂😂😂⁠ 🚜
What are some strange things you do as a #boymom or #girlmom?
It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's mag It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's magic.⁠ ✨🤩
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